The folks at Heroes know how to please an audience, whether it’s covering sizable chunks of story in each of the show’s blocks of episodes this year or, as was the case Saturday, giving several hundred adoring fans at the Paley Festival a taste of what’s to come.
Much to the delight of the crowd — there were several audible squeals in the auditorium — creator Tim Kring brought along a clip from the show’s next episode, which doesn’t air until April 23. It features Nathan Petrelli (Adrian Pasdar) and Linderman (Malcolm McDowell) further discussing Nathan’s role in the potential devastation of New York at the hands of his brother Peter (Milo Ventimiglia).
If you don’t want to know anything about that, skip the bullet points below. But if you do, here goes — the scene reveals that:
- Linderman too has a special ability, though we don’t know what.
- He and others like him once banded together to make the world a better place, but self-interest and disillusionment set in and the group splintered apart. (His description of that time had me thinking of Watchmen, with Linderman maybe seeing himself as an Adrian Veidt type.)
- Linderman has a rather expansive notion of the term "acceptable loss."
- He has a plan to put Nathan in the White House in 2008, but like most megalomaniacal plans, it’s not going to be pretty.
Once the buzz from that died down, the cast fielded the usual how’d-you-get-the-part questions (blanket answer: They all auditioned) and talked about working on a show where one regular and several recurring characters have already died.
"I just read episode 22, and it blew me away," Greg Grunberg said. To which Jack "HRG" Coleman replied, "When you say ‘blown away’ …"
Masi Oka, who plays Hiro (and who got some of the loudest love from the crowd, including two girls who screamed "Yata!" before asking a question … of someone else on stage), recalled getting the breakdown of his character: "Hiro is fluent in Japanese, comedic and versed in American television. I thought, this is such a niche role — if I don’t get this, what else would I get?"
The whole cast, actually, was in pretty good humor. Hayden Panettiere described being mummified ("except they don’t remove your organs") to have castings made of her character’s oft-broken body, and Grunberg mentioned the bruises he (or his stuntman, anyway) took when his character, Matt Parkman, was roughed up by Ali Larter’s Jessica a few episodes back.
"They’re all talking," Larter rejoined with a wicked smile, "but until you have to strip on a pole, you don’t know what hard work is."
Inevitably, someone asked the cast what superpowers they’d like to have — by one cast member’s count, that was about the thousandth time they’d been asked. "The ability to avoid that question," was Pasdar’s reply.
Others were more willing to answer. A sampling:
Larter: "I just want the power to get my boyfriend to do the dishes."
Grunberg: "Super metabolism." (That was about the fifth quip of Grunberg’s to draw a laugh, prompting Panettiere to ask, "Why are you on a drama?")
Coleman: "I always thought invisibility would be cool, but then I was invisible for most of the ’90s."
Finally, Kring sought to allay fears that Heroes will lose its momentum, as serialized shows tend to do as they wear on. He promises that the final five episodes this season will bring some resolution to the will-Peter-go-nuclear story, and next year (the show’s already been picked up) will "have its own set of dilemmas and questions."